Sri Chitra Home Supdt Fails to Appear Before DLSA
The Superintendent of Sri Chitra Home, who is facing serious allegations of forced child labour and misappropriation of funds, failed to appear before the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) on Friday for the commencement of the hearing on a petition filed by the inmates.
Principal Sub Judge A Shajahan, who is the acting secretary of DLSA, sent a notice of urgent nature to superintendent Aliamma Varghese to appear before the forum on May 13.
A large number of inmates submitted a written petition before the DLSA urging active intervention in the administration of the Home as they were living there in adverse conditions. They alleged forced labour, denial of basic rights and unhygienic living conditions.
The superintendent had filed an application a day before through post stating that she could not appear for the hearing on Friday. However, the judge did not accept the application stating that such pleas must be either made before the forum after appearing personally or through a representative.
The judge heard the statements of the girls and said that as the allegations involved serious offences, which might result in imprisonment under Juvenile Justice Act, the superintendent’s version should also be heard before arriving at a conclusion. The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Kerala Women’s Commission and the District Collector had visited Sri Chitra Home and taken note of the situation. The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights had directed the authorities to take steps for the welfare of the inmates, including construction of a new building to house them. The Women’s Commission has demanded that the government should immediately take over the institution.